North Wales-based housing association Grŵp Cynefin has praised its volunteers after they scooped two prestigious community awards.
The mayor of Denbigh, Councillor Catherine Jones, and Denbigh Youth Shedz, a group supporting formerly homeless young people, have both won a High Sheriff of Clwyd Award.
The prestigious accolade is presented annually to local people who have made outstanding contributions to communities across north east Wales.
And this year’s Denbigh winners work closely with Grŵp Cynefin on a number of non-profit, charitable schemes.
Catherine Jones, a tenant of the housing association who has battled a long-term illness to become the town mayor, won the award for individual volunteer.
She is heavily involved with a number of local organisations including Denbigh Carnival, Denbigh Events Group, and Grŵp Cynefin’s customer and communities committee.
The well-known local leader has also set up ‘Denbigh’s Family’, a fundraising group to support people that live alone in Denbigh, and personally visits nursing homes on Christmas Eve to ensure residents without families can join in on festivities.
Denbigh Youth Shedz, which was set up by young people working with Grŵp Cynefin’s support service Gorwel, won the High Sheriff’s award for voluntary organisations.
The project, which aims to help vulnerable youngsters gain confidence and learn life skills, started in Denbigh in 2017, and has since opened more Shedz in Colwyn Bay, Abergele and Kinmel Bay.
Members, known as ‘Shedderz’, lead on all decisions about the scheme’s development, and engage in activities including woodwork and furniture restoration.
They have also visited local secondary schools to speak about how education has helped improve their lives for the better.
After receiving the High Sheriff awards at the ceremony at Glyndŵr University, both winners say they are proud to be giving something back to their own community.
Catherine Jones said:
“Any award is an honour, and I’m grateful to accept it on behalf of the many groups I work with to help bring the people of Denbigh together.
“One of my main focuses is children and their education. I spend time at local primary schools in my role as mayoress, and enjoy telling them that they too can reach for the stars and could one day become mayor.
“Denbigh is a fantastic community, and being a councillor and a volunteer gives me the chance to help people. I believe everyone within our society should aim to help others.”
Scott Jenkinson, Youth Shedz co-founder, said:
“We’re absolutely blown away to have won our third award, with the team also finalists at the upcoming UK Housing Awards.
“It’s testament to the hard work of our young people, who have helped Denbigh Youth Shedz become a fully-fledged non-profit organisation.
“Being recognised by the High Sheriff will further build our members’ confidence, and without our partners including Grŵp Cynefin, none of their achievements as part of the group would be possible.”
Mair Edwards, community initiatives manager at Grŵp Cynefin, said:
“The difference Catherine Jones and Denbigh Youth Shedz’ contributions make to Denbigh is invaluable.
“We’re proud to be associated with these now award-winning volunteers, and look forward to continuing working closely with them to help improve the lives of our tenants.”
Shan Lloyd Williams, chief executive at Grŵp Cynefin, added:
“Our slogan is ‘more than housing’ and volunteers play a vital role in achieving that.
“As an organisation we strive to make sure our residents live happy and fulfilled lives, and we’re proud to be continuing work on inspirational schemes with Councillor Catherine Jones and Denbigh Youth Shedz.”
Grŵp Cynefin manages 4,800 houses across North Wales and north Powys. It strives to provide high-quality affordable homes that meet local community needs.
For more information, visit www.grwpcynefin.org, or call 0300 111 2122.